Published on October 4th, 2012 | by Glenn Meyers


Le Belvédère: Targets to be North America’s Largest Passive House

October 4th, 2012 by  

Passive houses, when designed correctly, represent sustainable works of distinction. That appears to be the case with Le Belvédère Special Events Center in Wakefield, Quebec. Homesol, an energy design company and energy evaluator, is targeting passive house certification.

Here’s why: With capacity for 150 dinner guests, the high-ceiling 8,000 square foot facility has an interior volume of 150,000 cubic feet – equivalent to a 15,000 square foot house – nearly six times larger than the average American home built in 2011. Homesol president Ross Elliott predicts Le Belvédère will have a winning annual electric heating bill as low as $600.

Elliott, speaking at PHIUS 2012 in Denver last weekend, said he wants to provoke building industry policy makers across North America to aim higher, like Le Belvédère, for achievable cold-climate efficiency. Le Belvédère achieved a Canadian standard EnerGuide Rating of 95, which is approximately 90 percent better than current Canadian standard building code.

A Canadian Homebuilders Association (CHBA) member, Elliott wants to provoke building industry policy makers to aim higher, like Le Belvédère, for achievable cold-climate efficiency. “Le Belvédère is located about a half-hour outside Ottawa, Canada’s national capital, which features winter temperatures colder than Moscow, Russia. And yet we’re very confident we’re going to meet or exceed the Passive House standard,” he says. “I challenge CHBA and any other North American homebuilder’s association to tell its members why we’re still building houses to lowest common denominator standards while ecosystems are being decimated, wars are being fought and lives lost over energy security.”

“The simple truth,” says Elliott, “is that our industry can build better houses right now, and most certainly before 2030,” when he believes the national standard for home building should be scheduled to meet Passive House for all new buildings. Le Belvédère achieved a Canadian standard EnerGuide Rating of 95, which is approximately 90 per cent better than current Canadian standard building code.

Le Belvédère has the following energy-saving features:

  • R100 cellulose (recycled newspaper) attic insulation, twice the 2012 building code
  • 18 inch thick, R71 walls (insulated with rock wool)
  • European Passive House triple glazed wood windows
  • Cold weather Mitsubishi air source heat pump for heating and cooling
  • Less than 0.5 ACH50 air-tightness, about seven times tighter than typical new construction
  • Custom built 2,200 cfm enthalpy recovery ventilator (ERV) with 90%+ heat recovery
  • Recovered heat from cooling systems recycled for hot water
  • LED lighting throughout, which alone will save an estimated $4,000 per year on hydro-electricity costs

Wintertime looks as if it’s freeze will soon be welcomed.

Photos supplied by Le Belvédère

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About the Author

Writer, documentary producer, and director. Meyers is a contributor to CleanTechnica, and founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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